Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies

Program Description
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Religious Studies is an advanced research degree meant for
those specializing in the comparative study of Buddhism in relation to another religion leading to a dissertation.

Program Objectives
The objectives of the Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies program are to:

  1. Provide a clear understanding of the differences and similarities between different religions;
  2. Provide the ability to analyze and compare different religions; and
  3. Provide a bridge between the study of religion—past, present, and future—and the problems of modern life.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies program, students will be able to:

  1. Acquire a deep understanding of the history and cultural impact of religious practices, ideas, outlooks, and concerns;
  2. Analyze Asian religious traditions, particularly Buddhism; and
  3. Acquire a cultural sensitivity between East and West through religious diversity and fostering an environment that furthers religious understanding.

Admission Requirements (Domestic Students Only)
1. Submit a completed and signed Application Form: The application form can be requested from the Admission’s Office or downloaded from the University website:

2. Submit the $100 Application Fee (non-refundable).

3. Submit all documents that are required by the admissions office:

  • Proof of Graduation: Applicants must provide proof of completion of a Master’s degree in order to qualify for admissions, such as official transcripts or a certificate of graduation.

4. Personal Identification: All applicants are required to submit a photocopy of personal identification such as state driver’s license, government issued identification card, and passport or any government issued photo identification.

Graduation Requirements
Successful completion of 66 quarter units of study is required with a minimum of 3.0 cumulative grade point average, and a research dissertation demonstrating critical judgment, intellectual synthesis, creativity, and skill in written communication. The normal time necessary to complete the program is three years.

Course Requirements

 Course Number  Course Title  Quarter Units
 REL 601   History and Theory of the Study of Religion  4
 REL 602   Historical and Textual Methodologies  4
 REL 603   Cultural and Social history of Buddhism  4
 REL 604   Buddhist Thought and Philosophy  4
 REL 621   Buddhist Hermeneutics  4
 REL 622   Buddhist Terminologies  4
 REL 631   South and Southeast Asian Buddhism Analysis  4
 REL 632   East Asian Buddhism Analysis  4
 REL 633   Tibetan and Central Asian Buddhism analysis  4
 REL 641   Development of Religions of China  4
 REL 642   Development of Religions of India  4
 REL 643   Comparative Analysis of Buddhism and Christianity  4
 REL 651-656   Research (Every Quarter)  4
 REL 691-693   Dissertation  4

Dissertation Petition

When the student has completed a minimum of 45 units of doctoral course work, he or she
must petition in writing to the Dean of Academics for the dissertation work.

The student’s petition must contain the following:
(1) The topic and description of the research paper;
(2) The names of three Professors to sit on the student’s Doctoral Committee;

The Doctoral Committee will review the topic and its description and advise the student either to proceed to study for the Dissertation or, where necessary, appear before the Doctoral Committee for questions.

Students are recommended for the advancement to candidacy by unanimous vote of the Doctoral Committee. Upon completion of the all courses, students must enroll in the Dissertation courses REL 691 to 693. Students are allotted additional time if needed.